BGE - 08/26/09

Saturday, August 29, 2009 12:38 PM

So, alas, my little 3-day vacation to Virginia is over. Made my first visit to Busch Gardens since 1998, which means Apollo's Chariot and Griffon would be new to me. Here are some brief highlights.

Weather: Sunny, Hot, but not Humid.

Crowds: Small - wait times were minimal all day (not that i could tell you exact times as i didn't take my cell phone with me that day).

Didn't get to the park until 2pm, as my friend's husband was battling a sinus cold and it was hard to get motivated to leave the house. But they have season passes and got me in for a decent price, so i can't complain too much. It would have been a great day for marathon riding though.

GRIFFON - 3x - 3rd row/3rd row/1st row
This was the first coaster we hit for the day. The back row was a walk-on, so we hopped right on to get our day started. This was my first Dive Coaster. I was oddly nervous, mostly b/c i'm not a huge fan of drop towers for whatever reason. I liked the whole set-up of the coaster and surrounding area: everything is designed to be intimidating and i think it works great in that respect. You can't avoid gawking at the drop from the bridge. There is never less than half the train screaming on the way down the first hill. The angle of the lift is deceptively steep once you are on the thing. Of course, there is the hold before the drop (though, personally, I think the ride might flow better if you just went over the edge right away). I didn't find a huge difference in either the front or the back, truth be told. I did enjoy it the ride for sure. First ride was a bit underwhelming, not sure what i was expecting (maybe just more of it), but the next two were perfectly , uh, whelming and fun. Very smooth and I think designed for massive re-ride-ability. Fast moving queue as well.

ALPENGEIST - 2x - 1st row/3rd row
I don't remember this ride being as rough 11 years ago as it was today. But then again, I'm certainly different than I was 11 years ago, so.... The first half was great and intense, with probably the cobra roll as the most forceful element. After the MCBR though, it's definitely more low-key - though the drop through the busted shack and the barrel roll are quite fun. I was surprised that the ending helix wasn't more intense. Still , I love a good B&M Invert. so no major complaints from me.

BIG BAD WOLF - 2x - Next-to-last row
Since there would be no night rides (park closed at 8pm) we opted for the (near) back both times. I remembered liking this ride before and it certainly was a blast again. You gotta love any ride that saves the best for last, as that drop to the river is wicked awesome. A bit rough on the second ride as i experienced the much debated shuffling and slamming forward into the harness near the end of the run, but not enough to ruin the ride for me. Everyone in line was buzzing about how it was closing in a couple of weeks and everyone was confused as to why, since everyone seemed to like it. Curious to what they will be replacing this with.

APOLLO'S CHARIOT - 2x - Last Row/3rd Row
Back-to-back rides on this one with about 1 train wait in between. Fun, fast, some good elements and air-time. I think i prefer Nitro at Great Adventure just a bit more, but still an awesome ride. I wish there was a ride like this closer than 4 hours from me.

LOCH NESS MONSTER - 1x - 4th Row
Both Steph and Chris opted out of this one but I didn't know when I would be getting back to BGE so i went on without them. Walk-on. Not as rough as i was expecting, but far from smooth. Smashed the back of my head during the first loop. but the second was smooth and forceful. Glad i went on, but once was enough.

Non-Coaster-y Stuff:

CORKSCREW HILL - Cute motion simulator. Actually had never been on one before. Effective, mostly. The 3-D aspect didn't really work as well as I'd hoped. Also, going on right after eating may not have been the best idea.

Le SCOOT LOG FLUME - As usual for a mid-week visit on a hot day, this had the longest wait of the (maybe 25 minutes). Steph and I sat in the back thinking it would be a drier of the two options. Not the case. We actually got soaked at the TOP of the main hill as just before plunging down, a wave of water rushed in over the sides of the boat and got both of us in a major way (though luckily, not my shoes) Chris got off mostly dry.

CURSE OF DARKASTLE - 15 minute wait. I had heard good things about this ride and it certainly lived up to it. Truth be told, i had no idea what was going on in the story, since the pre-show video in the queue was barely audible. Once on the ride, i was too busy looking at everything to pay close attention to the plot (apparently there is one, I didn't know). Either way, the ride was effective from a sensation standpoint. Coulda been longer, but then can't most rides.

That was about all we did in the 5 hours were were at BGE that day. It was a fun, if short visit. Hopefully it won't be another 11 years before I get back there.

JT

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 2:32 PM

Woohoo! Hope this means that during my trip Sunday through Wednesday we will have run of the park! Anyone know if the students in that area have returned to school?

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Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:15 PM

Virginia schools is day after Labor Day.

William and Mary and other local colleges are in now. You will typically see some of them on weekends, or late evenings after class. But not enough to severely skew the wait times.

Tsunami78:

DarKastle used to have a 40s pre-show corral area the first year it opened. However it was unfortunately slowing the overall queue line a great deal. They got rid of it a few seasons after. I wouldnt exactly call this current one a pre-show. Its more so a queue line that happens to have video playing.

I do kind of agree that it would be nice to hear it over the roar of the people in the room, but I think the attraction sort of speaks when your on the ride for it to still be totally enjoyable.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:29 PM
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Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:21 PM

Darkastle pre show story-Evil crazy Prince makes his mom and dad "disappear" and then becomes King, spends the treasury and goes bankrupt. With the nobles ready to remove him from power, he invites them all to a grand Christmas feast and took them all on a ride in Golden carriages, and they all disappear.

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Monday, August 31, 2009 8:22 AM

Ride - It was awfully loud in there. I didn't mind to much that i couldn't hear, since my friends had ridden it many times and told me the gist of it. The ride was TOTALLY effective, even without truly understanding the narrative.

Touchdown - I probably would have turned down that particular dinner invitation...when will noblemen ever learn? Haven't they seen enough horror movies??

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